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February 10, 2014

Vintage Signage

When you sketch a place – a view, a street, a monument – you get to know it so well. The light, the textures, the colors, all the stuff you would miss if you weren’t looking so deeply. So it’s a bittersweet feeling when it no longer exists: I am glad I got to sketch it and know it before it was gone, but it’s gone forever…
Few things are disappearing as quickly as neon signs. It used to be that every proud business owner would put up as flashy a sign as they could. Glowing neon, flashing arrows illuminated by bulbs, all with beautiful typography…Todays backlit vinyl signs do a poor job of matching up to those gorgeous signs.
So I sketched a couple of signs in my neighborhood last week and plan to add more to my sketchbooks while they're still around.
Why did so many dry cleaners have neon signs? I don't know, but this one at Elite Cleaners in San Jose won't be around too long. The cleaners are moving. They were amused when I asked if the signs moves with them...

Another look at the sign, up close this time. I love that serpentine arrow.

This sketch is of a sign by Felafel’s Drive-In, a popular felafel joint with a classic American drive-in sign. The good news? This place is thriving and they’re not going anywhere soon. I sketched this sign on what was possibly our only really rainy day this year.

Next up? I’m looking for suggestions. Know of a Bay Area location with a great vintage sign? A theater marquee? Or a handpainted storefront sign? Let me know, I’d love to sketch it.
To see a set of my vintage sign sketches so far, head over to this set on flickr.


Kamaraka said...

Great colourful loose sketches!!

Rosário said...

Love these!

memi said...

I love this series- so FUN!

Shari Blaukopf said...

Great sketches Suhita. Especially the rain-soaked one!

Jessie Chapman said...

What a great series. The sketches capture the spirit of this vintage Americana so well.